For couples who file taxes jointly, it isn’t enough to let a spouse take care of the taxes and sign on the dotted line when he or she is done. One very important reason for this: you can be held responsible for errors your spouse commits on a tax return. This can lead to fines and possibly other penalties, so it isn’t just a matter of getting a slap on the wrist and a reminder to pay better attention next time.
The IRS does recognize that there are some cases where a taxpayer is not actually responsible for tax errors committed by a spouse, at least to an extent, and there are several types of relief available for such spouses. Innocent spouse relief, for one, may be available to a taxpayer whose the spouse filed an incorrect tax return. For those who qualify, there is the possibility of relief from tax, interest and penalties.